Oedema of ankles according to Chinese Medicine

Oedema of ankles can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like oedema of ankles here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here oedema of ankles is often associated with dizziness, night sweats and hot flushes in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause oedema of ankles.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of oedema of ankles we’ve identified five herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat oedema of ankles.

The two "patterns of disharmony" that can cause oedema of ankles

In Chinese Medicine oedema of ankles is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

The Kidneys is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Kidneys in Chinese Medicine

Kidney Yang Deficiency

Pulse type(s): Deep (Chen), Slow (Chi)

Tongue coating: Thin white coating

Tongue color: Pale

Tongue shape: Swollen

Kidney Yang Deficiency causes Internal Cold and weakness.

In addition to oedema of ankles, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency include dizziness, night sweats and hot flushes.

From a Western Medicine standpoint /tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency is associated with health issues such as Late Menstruation, Menopausal Syndrome or Irregular Menstruation.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency is often treated with Ba Wei Di Huang Wan, a herbal formula made of 8 herbs (including Prepared Rehmannia - Shu Di huang - as a key herb). Ba Wei Di Huang Wan belongs to the category of "formulas that nourish yin and tonify", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Tonifies Yang".

Read more about Kidney Yang Deficiency here

Water Plantain (Ze Xie) is the king ingredient for Wu Ling San, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/oedema

Oedema

Pulse type(s): Hidden (Fu), Slowed-down (Huan)

Tongue coating: Thick white coating

Oedema manifests itself as swellings due to the retention of Body Fluids. Chinese Medicine believes that it originates from the leaking of Body Fluids from their normal pathways into the space between skin and muscles.

In addition to oedema of ankles, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/oedema include sore back, poor appetite and sore knees.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/oedema is often treated with Wu Ling San, a herbal formula made of 5 herbs (including Water Plantain - Ze Xie - as a key herb). Wu Ling San belongs to the category of "formulas that promote urination and leach out dampness", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Promotes urination,".

Read more about Oedema here

Five herbal formulas that might help with oedema of ankles

Shen Qi Wan

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 8 herbs

Key actions: Tonifies and warms Kidney Yang.

Why might Shen Qi Wan help with oedema of ankles?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/kidney-yang-deficiency' of which oedema of ankles is a symptom.

Read more about Shen Qi Wan here

Wu Ling San

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Promotes urination,. Warms the Yang. Strengthens the Spleen. Promotes Qi transformation function. Drains Dampness. Clears edema.

Why might Wu Ling San help with oedema of ankles?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/oedema' of which oedema of ankles is a symptom.

Read more about Wu Ling San here

Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Diuretic, clears Excess fluid and removes edema. Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Calms External Wind.

Why might Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang help with oedema of ankles?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/oedema' of which oedema of ankles is a symptom.

Read more about Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang here

Ping Wei San

Source date: 1051 AD

Number of ingredients: 4 herbs

Key actions: Dries Dampness. Improves the Spleen's transportive function. Promotes the movement of Qi. Harmonizes the Stomach.

Why might Ping Wei San help with oedema of ankles?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/oedema' of which oedema of ankles is a symptom.

Read more about Ping Wei San here

Wu Pi Yin

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 5 herbs

Key actions: Reduces edema, diuretic. Regulates and strengthens Spleen Qi.

Why might Wu Pi Yin help with oedema of ankles?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/oedema' of which oedema of ankles is a symptom.

Read more about Wu Pi Yin here

Acupuncture points used for oedema of ankles

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat oedema of ankles

Why might Poria-Cocos Mushroom (Fu Ling) help with oedema of ankles?

Because Poria-Cocos Mushroom is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of ankles as a symptom, like Wu Pi Yin or Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang for instance.

Poria-Cocos Mushrooms is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Encourages urination and drains Dampness. Tonic to the Spleen/Stomach. Assists the Heart and calms the Spirit.

Read more about Poria-Cocos Mushrooms here

Why might Atractylodes Rhizome (Bai Zhu) help with oedema of ankles?

Because Atractylodes Rhizome is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of ankles as a symptom, like Zhen Wu Tang or Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang for instance.

Atractylodes Rhizomes is a Warm herb that tastes Bitter and Sweet. It targets the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Spleen Qi. Fortifies the Spleen Yang and dispels Damp through urination. Tonifies Qi and stops sweating. Calms restless fetus when due to Deficiency of Spleen Qi.

Read more about Atractylodes Rhizomes here

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with oedema of ankles?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of ankles as a symptom, like Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang or Ping Wei San for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Cinnamon Twig (Gui Zhi) help with oedema of ankles?

Because Cinnamon Twig is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of ankles as a symptom, like Ling Gui Zhu Gan Tang or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Cinnamon Twigs is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Adjusts the nutritive Ying and defensive Wei Qi. Relieves the Exterior through sweating. Warms and disperses Cold. Removes obstruction of Yang. Promotes the circulation of Yang Qi in the chest. Regulates and moves blood.

Read more about Cinnamon Twigs here

Why might Prepared Aconite (Zhi Fu Zi) help with oedema of ankles?

Because Prepared Aconite is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat oedema of ankles as a symptom, like Zhen Wu Tang or Shen Qi Wan for instance.

Prepared Aconite is a Hot herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Kidney and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Raises the collapse of Yang. Warms the meridians and relieves pain caused by Cold. Reduces Damp caused by Deficiency in Yang.

Read more about Prepared Aconite here